Well, this last few weeks I have been churning out the bottles and jars like I was about to overwinter in a snowbound hovel in the arctic, or at least, possibly a little over over enthusiastically for a soul who eats jam but once a week. A serious exponential consumption curve a one-woman WI stall or a jam-themed Christmas are the only possible routes I fear. Anyway, its been fun, there’s nothing like stirring a boiling cauldron of jam and running back and forth to test dribbles of it on semi-freddo saucers to feel like there is at least a vestige of domestic knowledge surviving from the ancestors, near and far. Above is a documentary of the Plum and Lemon jam that my friend Holly and I made with bundles and bundles of plums picked from her allotment (3kgs victoria type plums; 2.5 kgs sugar; juice of 1.5 lemons; pips suspended in a muslin bag – its a really nice tart conserve with caramelised plum skins, mmm).
I also had the extreme joy of picking greengages from Holly’s allotment which I made into the perennial winner Greengage, Orange and Walnut jam, I am actually eating this one more than once a week so it must be good…(1.3kg greengages; 1kg sugar; zest of 2 oranges; juice of 1 orange; good squeeze of lemon – I left the zest, sugar and gages to macerate in a bowl overnight before making, perhaps this had a good effect).
The stab in the dark rogue experiment this year was a Bramble, Plum and Redcurrant jelly – experiment being the operative word as I always feel a thrill of apothecary-like pseudo-scientific wizardry when constructing precarious contraptions with mop handles and ladder-back chairs to hang my ancient jute jelly bag from, and watching the viscous juice drip slowly through… It was remarkably good this jelly – the mixture kept the bramble flavour from getting in the least cloying and the colour is positively velvet jewel like. (No need to weigh the fruit as that all comes with matching your sugar quantity to the amount of juice you produce – I had roughly 2 parts blackberries to 1 part redcurrant and 1 part plum, or perhaps slightly less redcurrants. I used about a cup of apple juice to loosen the fruit while bringing to the boil and then matched 1lb sugar to each pint of liquid that magically made its way through the jellybag overnight).
I even managed to foray into the world of chutney this year, although it’s definitely not so fun to make as it impregnates one with a horrible boiled vinegar aura. Not a wondrous asset, domestic or otherwise. Anyway, I made my favourite Runner Bean chutney – eminently more satisfying than the beans themselves – using the old chestnut, Delia Smith’s, classic recipe.
And then I moved onto fruity gin liquers this weeknd: Damson, and Strawberry & Raspberry…..